AUDLEY, John II (d.c.1594), of Chancery Lane, London and Wood Green, nr. Cheshunt, Herts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

Prob. s. of Thomas Audley (d.c.1561), of Haugh, Lincs. by his w. Elizabeth Warren of Notts. educ. ?G. Inn. m. Susan, sis. of John Stockwood, wid. of Thomas Field of London, at least 1s.

Offices Held


The journal for 1 Mar. 1593 states ‘Mr. Audley is returned burgess for two towns: he having elected for which he will be, a new writ is to be directed to the other town to choose another’. It is surprising to find the same man elected for two duchy of Lancaster boroughs, especially during the chancellorship of Thomas Heneage, who was an efficient electoral manager. The explanation may be that the vice-chancellor, Gilbert Gerard I (who was influential in Lancashire, and seems under Heneage’s predecessor, Francis Walsingham, to have exercised patronage in duchy boroughs in that county), continued to nominate at Lancaster, not realising that Audley had already secured a duchy seat at Stockbridge, presumably through Heneage. There is no information about any ensuing by-election.

Audley was a younger son in the large family of a Lincolnshire gentleman, said to be an illegitimate descendant of Thomas, Baron Audley of Walden. His father left him £100 ‘to his bringing up in learning and for his portion’. He followed two of his elder brothers to London, where he acquired a house in Chancery Lane. Later he leased property at Wood, Hertfordshire. As he inherited little if any land, and was obviously in comfortable circumstances by the time of his death, it may be that he had a minor duchy of Lancaster post. In a case brought before the duchy of Lancaster court in 1592 he is said to have assigned debts owed to him by Francis Curzon, Robert Bainbridge and John Curzon ‘unto her Majesty as in the right of her Highness’s duchy of Lancaster’. He may have been a lawyer, though his name does not appear on any inn of court register. Three of the five supervisors of his will—his ‘faithful old friend’ Edward Bacon, William Gerard III and Thomas Hesketh—had studied at Gray’s Inn, where at least one of his brothers was a member. Gerard, the nephew of Sir Gilbert, and himself Member for Wigan in 1593, is described in Audley’s will as ‘clerk of the duchy’.

The will, undated, was proved by Audley’s son John, the sole executor, on 13 Nov. 1594. There is no significant preamble, but the last few sentences have a puritan flavour:

so leaving the world and the cares thereof I commit myself wholly, body and soul, into the hands of my sweet Saviour Jesus, crying with the apostle, ‘Come, Lord Jesu: come quickly’, that the days of sin may receive an end. Amen.

Part of the will is taken up with arrangements for the maintenance of two daughters of his wife’s former husband, Thomas Field (possibly a relative of John Field the puritan minister), who had died intestate. The widow received £200, household goods and some of Audley’s leasehold property. There were bequests to the poor of Cheshunt and of several Lincolnshire parishes, to Christ’s Hospital, London, and towards the erecting and maintenance of the new plague hospital in the city. Among relatives who received legacies were two brothers, Walter and Anthony, several nieces and a nephew, Thomas Middleton, son of Audley’s sister Ellen.

Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. l), 50-52; A. L. Reade, Audley Peds. 20-2; D’Ewes, 479; DL1/156/20; PCC 76 Dixy, 9 Streat.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Audrey sat for either Lancaster or Stockbridge.